Lawsuit: The flag, racism, and the kids of Edina

Disrespect without accountability seems to be at the heart of a lawsuit the Young Conservatives Club of Edina High School has filed after some students refused to stand during taps at a Veterans Day observance at the school.

The group is claiming a First Amendment violation because the principal reportedly forced the club to shut down social media after the club members spoke out against the other students. They say they’re being required to support the school’s mission, which requires students to show respect to other students, even when peacefully protesting.

“He indicated the reason the club was disbanded was that they disrespected protesters,” Erick Kaardal, the attorney for the students, told a news conference yesterday. He frequently represents parties opposed to the government, according to a biography on his firm’s website.

He also admitted some of the feedback provided by club members was racial, KARE 11 says.

“I think the criticism was some of the students were immigrants. They should go back to their home countries,” Kaardal said.

Oh, Edina kids! This is the hill you want to die on? Racism Hill?

“I have been harassed. Called ignorant, felt demeaned by the fellow students. All for my conservative values. It seems like race and politics are woven throughout every aspect of Edina High School,” said Jazmine Edmond.

Step back. One invokes racism and then complains race is woven into every aspect of school?

The group says a video, purportedly from Edina’s Antifa, made them uncomfortable in calling them racist, City Pages said.

“We will not stop until every tentacle of your evil monstrosity is sliced off at the nerve,” a person in the video said.

“School policy allows students to disrespect military veterans and the United States flag, but will not tolerate those students who criticize the disrespectful behavior of the student protesters,” Kaardal said. “That’s a double standard.”

He also claimed the U.S. Flag Code, which sets the protocol for showing respect for the flag, overrides Edina High School policy allowing students to stay seated.

More info: Assembly Protest Leads to Anonymous Threats, Harassment (Edina Zephyrus)

Edina Young Conservatives Club Sues Edina Public Schools for Violations of First Amendment Rights, U.S. Flag Code (Edina Zephyrus)

  • Guest

    I object to your non-acceptance of my protesting their silent protest.

    OR

    You can point out how staying seated during the ceremony makes you feel and all is good.

  • AL287

    “They say they’re being required to support the school’s mission, which
    requires students to show respect to other students, even when
    peacefully protesting.”

    Imagine that.

    Charity and respect begin at home. The Edina students didn’t just decide one day they were going to bully and shame people who’s skin is a different color or who speak with a slight foreign accent or who choose to protest racial inequality at a school event. Their views on race and equality were instilled by their parents along with exposure to social media and peer pressure.

    The Edina lawsuit is a prime example of why we cannot get past racism, bigotry and yes, the sexual harassment of women in this country.

    I am very fearful that we never will.

    Sad.

    • Rob

      Those tender YCC snowflakes are upset that they were called ignorant for suggesting immigrant students should go back where they came from? The mind reels.

      I hope these putzes are able to take some solace today in Roy Moore’s remarks that the last time the U.S. was great is when there was still slavery.

      • AL287

        If you really want this story to hit home, I recommend reading the ProPublica article on maternal mortality among black women listed on the MPR news site.

        As a medical professional, it was absolutely heartbreaking.

        It is our attitudes towards people of color that cause the most stress in their lives which actually shortens them and puts them at high risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.

        Even with the advantage of higher education and a well-paying job they remain at risk.

        • Rob

          Yup.

      • Jerry

        Of course Roy Moore thinks that is the last time America was great. That was the last time it was acceptable for a man in his 30’s to court a teenager (also because he is racist).

  • MrE85

    “I have been harassed. Called ignorant, felt demeaned by the fellow students. All for my conservative values.”

    Ah, the old “I’m the REAL victim” defense.

  • Mike

    Shutting down a group due to misbehavior of some of its members is gross overreaction. If that were the actual standard, virtually all athletic teams in high schools would cease to exist.

    Did the principal talk to the group to explain why race-based comments are over the line? Perhaps get some agreement from the group’s leaders on that subject? Or is he/she just a petty authoritarian like so many of them are?

    • // to explain why race-based comments are over the line?

      I wonder who raised these kids that a principal would have to explain why race-based comments are over the line?

      • Mike

        High school students are adolescents, not adults. Many of them like to provoke and shock; it’s all part of growing up. Race and racism are facts of the society we live, and it’s naive to think that young people aren’t going to absorb some of that, regardless of the family they grew up in.

        My point is that the principal should have been the adult here, and should have tried to make this into a teachable moment. Isn’t that what schools are supposed to do? Instead, he or she took the easy route. Ban them! It’s a very immature reaction, but all too common among people in positions of authority.

        • //My point is that the principal should have been the adult here, and should have tried to make this into a teachable moment. Isn’t that what schools are supposed to do? Instead, he or she took the easy route.

          Sounds like you have some inside information on what happened and what conversations took place. Can you share?

          • Mike

            Obviously not. Apparently the school district isn’t commenting due to the lawsuit.

            But banning student speech is problematic from a First Amendment perspective. The conservative group has every right, for example, to espouse the belief that immigration should be restricted.

          • According to the school newspaper account, the principal talked to the students involved “at length.”

            “They are apologetic and frustrated and disavowing some of [the messages], saying being a conservative doesn’t mean being a racist,” he told the reporter. That on the Friday after the ceremony.

            The video came later and it was after that, from what I can tell that the principal took action and also promised instruction on the appropriate use of social media.

            Sounds like the principal did what you said the principal should have done.

          • Mike

            The details seem murky here. Do we know what was in the video allegedly produced by the conservative group, other than denouncing the protest? Because if the latter is all the principal is relying on, that seems like very shaky grounds on which to ban the entire group.

            It sounds like the principal just wanted to ban them because he or she doesn’t like their views.

          • Deets contained in links posted.

          • Mike

            I don’t see information in either the KARE11 or City Pages articles that answers the question I posed above.

            If the principal banned the group for improper use of social media before a social media policy was in place, that’s obviously fatuous as a rationale. If the principal banned them for content that simply criticized the protesters, that’s a free speech infringement.

          • NG
          • Mike

            Thanks for the link. The threat of violence in the antifa video seems at least as bad if not worse than the dumb, bigoted comments of some of the conservative group students. Given that safety and respectful dialogue are the purported concerns of school officials in these cases, it would seem that investigating the origins of that should be at least as much of a priority as banning the conservative group.

          • Where do you get that there wasn’t a social media policy in place?

            https://www.edinaschools.org/cms/lib/MN01909547/Centricity/Domain/92/Board%20Policy%20Manual/506.pdf

          • Mike

            In your previous post, you said that the principal promised instruction on the use of social media. That’s why I said “if.”

            But thanks for the link. I guess we’ll see if their policy and enforcement holds up in court.

          • Lindsey

            Free speech is restricted for students. Right or wrong, that is allowed by the Supreme Court.

          • Mike

            Only partially. Politically oriented speech enjoys many of the same protections as adult speech. If this case goes to court, it will be interesting to see what happens.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinker_v._Des_Moines_Independent_Community_School_District

          • RBHolb

            You might want to check out the later limitation of the Tinker case, Morse v. Frederick, 551 US 393 (2007), the notorious “Bong His 4 Jesus” case.

          • Mike

            Yes, I did read that. It’s not at all clear that the promotion of illegal drug use would be seen by the courts as being equivalent to the expression of political opinions (e.g., against immigration). In fact, if it’s determined that Edina discriminated against the conservative group based on the content, as opposed to certain forms of expression, of those beliefs, I would bet the conservatives would win.

            It’s also interesting to note that the ACLU and liberal justices were in the minority of this opinion, which you’re now using to justify schools’ restriction of speech rights. Ironic, no?

          • RBHolb

            I’m not justifying anything. I am merely pointing out that public school students do not have the same First Amendment rights in school as they would out of school.

            FWIW, I think the Morse decision was poorly reasoned and incorrectly decided.

          • Mike

            Then we are agreed. I’m not arguing they have exactly the same rights either. It’s a very gray area, with various seemingly contradictory court decisions. And I also concur with your assessment of Morse.

            But when schools start banning groups altogether, especially those organized around political positions, they’re potentially running afoul of the Constitution. The first impulse of many of these officials is to simply ban things they find troublesome. It seems like a lot of them are fairly ignorant, perhaps deliberately so, of the fact that their students do have certain free speech rights.

          • Lindsey

            Did you read the subsequent jurisprudence section? Because it very clearly addresses situations like this.

          • Mike

            How so?

          • Jay T. Berken

            Are you a principal, Mike?

            One of the frustrating movements going on in our country’s discourse is to attack the professional at their job and training and put the blame on them. You yourself Mike said that you do not have any details to add on the steps and protocol that took place in this situation, but you have no problem attacking the principal. STOP IT.

          • Mike

            Is it right when principals – or superintendents – ban books? Is it right when they tell students they’re not allowed to express certain political opinions? It’s not, and the courts have often ruled that it isn’t.

            If you want to worship someone just because they occupy a certain position, go right ahead. Others are free to take more skeptical approach.

          • Jay T. Berken

            I am not talking about worshipping anyone, you are. I am not even talking about what the principal did was right or wrong, you are. I am talking about you shooting from the hip at the principal with no backup or inside information that this principal is in the wrong, and we should take the side of the students.

            Again, are you a principal, Mike? What is your training that you can say this principal did wrong?

          • Mike

            I take the side of free speech. No, I’m not a principal. Are you? So what. It’s immaterial.

            Are you a constitutional scholar, Jay? Or an ACLU lawyer? That must mean you’re not entitled to an opinion.

          • What is the limit of free speech? That’s always the question. The U.S. Supreme Court has certain established those limits in a number of cases. That there is one at all doesn’t seem to be a legitimate question that’s going to be able to advance very far in litigation.

          • Mike

            Admittedly, I’m something of a free speech absolutist. Though yes, I acknowledge that the courts have created limits, especially with respect to minors. The problem is that in the aggregate the decisions don’t seem very coherent. Apparently judges are as divided on these questions as the public is.

          • Which decisions in particular are you referring to?

          • Mike

            In the “Bong Hits for Jesus” case, it appears that the court was making a content-based judgment, which the dissenting justices (the liberals Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg) pointed out. Stevens believed that it undermined Tinker v. Des Moines School District.

            And let’s be honest, that’s the difference between the Warren and the Roberts courts.

          • Jay T. Berken

            My comment and opinion is to the slandering of the principal with your comments in an authoritative way. Your comments are taking the side of the students and taking ownership of their actions by attacking the integrity of the principal’s decision. What you are saying is that the principal is incompetent. Are you calling for the principal to be fired without due process?

            I am not a principal or lawyer. I am also the one not trying to throw the principal under the bus.

            My biggest problem with your kind of comments is that the professional class is incompetent with no facts to back it up.

          • Mike

            Here’s the deal: I have every right to express disdain for the principal’s decision (subject to the rules of this forum), and you have every right to express support. Disapproval is not slander; it’s opinion.

            And I don’t care whether you like my opinion or not. It’s immaterial. Also – the so-called professional class doesn’t automatically deserve respect. It’s composed of fallible individuals just like every other class.

          • Jay T. Berken

            Who deserves your respect Mike?

            That is my point and opinion. By you saying: “My point is that the principal should have been the adult here, and should have tried to make this into a teachable moment. Isn’t that what schools are supposed to do? Instead, he or she took the easy route.”, you are jumping to conclusions that the principal is in the wrong with no further insight of what is inclusive evidence. You take it on yourself that you are the authority.

            “Also – the so-called professional class doesn’t automatically deserve respect.” Well…I think you are crappy at your profession.

        • Rob

          If kids are verbally attacking immigrants, that’s way beyond permissible “provoke and shock” behavior. Telling people to go back where they came from is way different than dying your hair blue or riding your skateboard in the school hallways.

      • theoacme

        Obviously not hyenas…even they have standards!

      • NG

        Actually… YouTube probably has a large impact on that. It is really quite easy for kids to run across lots of pretty vile things. Conspiracy theories abound, video montages of doctored photos, “reasonable” “experts” explaining why feminism, multiculturalism, etc. are horrible concepts… I suspect that YouTube leads the charge in “self-radicalization” of those with xenophobic tendencies.

    • NG

      I realize that I’m not in the majority on this issue. But, I’m ok with shutting down sports programs. A waste of time and money in most cases. Exercise is necessary, but not the ridiculous level of these “sports”.

  • theoacme

    Mr. Kaardaal obviously never read the Congressional Research Service report to the US Congress on the Flag Code, particularly this from page 9: “The Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and advisory.”

    Link to the CRS report: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjOksuCwvrXAhVHON8KHW0cCoAQFghiMA4&usg=AOvVaw2qYPHMyn3KA1M3idFU_yb

    • Rob

      It’s “prescribe,'” not “proscribe.”

      • theoacme

        The PDF source says “proscribe” (I checked again just now, after double checking earlier).

        • Rob

          Then it’s a typo that makes the sentence totally nonsensical. Check the Flag Code itself.

          • proscribe – forbid, especially by law.

            Looks like it makes sense when used in that sentence.

          • Rob

            No, the sentence, as seen in the actual Flag Code, notes that the Code isn’t intended to prescribe (dictate) behavior, but is suggestive in nature.

          • Kellpa07

            Prescribe would be to require or recommend particular behavior. Proscribe, as Mr. Onan writes would be to forbid. I think it is correct.

  • Mike Worcester

    Interesting that this has now cropped up mere weeks after other assertions of “indoctrination” were leveled against Edina High School in their levy and school board votes.

    http://www.startribune.com/political-indoctrination-in-edina-schools-most-school-board-candidates-weigh-in/450923413/

  • >>Edina’s Antifa<<

    …some kid in a hoodie and Guy Fawke's mask with an iPhone.

    • Jerry

      Do you think these kids actually know who Guy Fawkes is? Although using his image is appropriate, probably just not in the way they think it is.

  • The only thing that can be said in defense of these “Young Conservatives” is that the brains of adolescents are not fully developed, and this can lead to impulsive and poor decisions. In a sense, there is no “wait a minute, I’d better think about this” before they act. Some experts say that the adult brain is not fully developed until the late 20s, 27-29. As for who raised them, there is no such excuse for such parenting. We all expect adults to know the boundaries and teach them to their children.

  • >>He also claimed the U.S. Flag Code, which sets the protocol for showing respect for the flag, overrides Edina High School policy allowing students to stay seated.<<

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cfa2a4269dc238e5d7f49b2877c485f9611cbf9710cb2ceeca22f0324312311.jpg

  • Kassie

    Do colleges admit kids who sue their high schools because they aren’t allowed to be racist? It seems like those same kids will turn around and sue their colleges when they don’t get their way. I know if I was a college administrator I wouldn’t want to admit litigious racists into my school.

    • TGB

      I invite you to watch the KARE 11 video on this issue where a female student of color is a member of the conservative group, is she too a racist? Sorry, but this issue isn’t actually about race.

      • crystals

        Yes, people of color can be racist.

        And if the students who were being told to go back to where they came from are all people of color, then yes, this is about race. It might be about other things too, but you can’t say race isn’t part of this.

      • Veronica

        Two words: Sheriff Clarke.

      • Kassie

        So people of a group can’t be racist if there is a person of color in their group? That’s now how it works.

  • TGB

    Sorry Mr. Collins, this issue isn’t about race. It isn’t racist to say “If you don’t like this country, go back to your own.” What if that country were Norway? Why does it matter if it’s North or South of the US border?

    Protesting during the National Anthem, on Veteran’s Day, is offensive, that’s why it’s so powerful. I agree it’s a right to protest the government, we all do it everyday. The argument here is that it’s also okay to criticize people for protesting during the National Anthem.

    Mr. Collins, with respect, you’re a race baiting [obscenity deleted], and I sincerely hope your days at MPR are numbered…

    • Andy K.

      @bcollinsmn:disqus …Does this kind of talk violate the terms of your blog?

      • RBHolb

        It’s a provocation. “Look, those mean taxpayer-funded liberals shut you down if you disagree with them!”

    • //Mr. Collins, with respect, you’re a race baiting [obscenity deleted], and I sincerely hope your days at MPR are numbered…

      This concludes the intellectual part of the discussion.

      But beginning the sentence with “with respect” pretty much was the highlight of my morning. Thanks for the chuckle.

      • TGB

        That’s a neat cop-out, care to actually address my argument?

        • Andy K.

          I think you’re begging the question: “Who gets to decide what is racist and what is not?”

          • TGB

            And Mr. Collins falls in the “Boy who cried wolf” camp. He tries to make anything about race to generate more traffic. Again, all he does is throw fuel on the fire without sincere reflection and critical thinking. It’s easier to just call the conservative group, which includes PoC, racist than to do any real journalism.

            MPR’s integrity is in shambles. This isn’t journalism.

          • Lindsey

            Where does the article call conservatives racist?

          • Andy K.

            Why does it bother you so much that Bob talks about racism on his blog?

          • TGB

            Because this is not an example of racism. Can you point to any racist statements? Racism and bigotry is disgusting. Here we don’t see evidence of racism, instead it’s bigotry on behalf of Mr. Collins.

      • AL287

        Bob, I think it’s time for a time out for this person as you have done with other commenters who are guilty of trolling, including me.

        FWIW, obscenities are not respectful in any way shape or form.

    • lusophone

      Can anyone prove that the children protesting during the National Anthem are in fact immigrants and weren’t born in the US? If this is an immigration issue I would think that is pretty important to know.

  • TGB

    Mr. Collins, what do you say to the people of color who are also members of the conservative group? Are they racist, too?

    • RBHolb

      I’m not going to speak for Bob, but I personally would say that they are enabling racism and providing a cover, by letting supporters point to them as a defense.

      • TGB

        ^And that is a prime example of racism.

        • RBHolb

          By saying that people of color who support racists are enabling their actions?

          Why is it only racist to criticize racism? Saying that is just another way to shut down debate, and to avoid confronting ugly truths.

        • Lindsey

          What is a prime example of racism? By arguing that immigrants are lesser, you are at best being xenophobic and at worst racist.

    • The underpinning of your question is “what is racism?”

      Here, let me help you with that.

      rac·ism
      ˈrāˌsizəm
      noun
      prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

      • TGB

        Requesting someone who lacks national pride to return to their country of origin is a declaration that one’s race is superior to the other?

        Do you see how that doesn’t fit, Mr. Collins? Are you capable of understanding that?

        • Rob

          Is that you, Fred?

        • Lindsey

          Someone who lacks national pride by your definition. Interesting that my definition is not allowed in your national pride.

          Maybe he should be saying xenophobia for the examples in this article. However, due to the lawyer’s comments, race was a motivation for some of the YCC.

    • Andy K.

      Are you talking about individual racism/discrimination based on skin color, or institutional racism?

  • Ian Maitland

    “Oh, Edina kids! This is the hill you want to die on? Racism Hill?”

    Respectfully, Bob, your brain is so addled by the PC dogma that racism is behind everything, that you have missed the point.

    As Kaardal said, “I think the criticism was some of the students were immigrants. They should go back to their home countries.”

    Immigrants. Not race.

    That is to say, the Edina kids were protesting the “huddled masses” who have sought a refuge and sanctuary in the United States — and been welcomed with open arms and made at to feel at home — and who then bite the hand that feeds them.

    After all that, they refuse to stand during taps at a Veterans Day observance at the school. It’s not asking much of them to show minimal respect for people who have laid their lives on the line to protect the immigrants’ place of refuge.

    As an immigrant myself, I think that, by any standard, that is repellent behavior that needs to be called out, not coddled. Don’t you agree?

    But, no, you dumb down the discussion by reducing it all to racism.

    • Lindsey

      Where does it say that immigrants were protesting during the Veterans’ Day observance?

      Additionally, US citizens are expected to be patriotic.
      Here’s the definition of patriotism: love for or devotion to one’s country.
      That doesn’t say that you have to think that your country is without flaws.

      • Ian Maitland

        QUOTE after some students refused to stand during taps at a Veterans Day observance at the school UNQUOTE

        • Lindsey

          Well, then yes, they are immigrants, due to the fact that there are no native citizens to the United States, just various levels of immigrants.

          However, there is no indication that these people sought refuge and sanctuary in the US. For all you know, and just as likely, their ancestors came because they were rich and could afford it.

          • RBHolb

            “For all you know, and just as likely, their ancestors came because they were rich and could afford it.”

            Or they were dodging the Imperial German draft. You never know.

          • Lindsey

            That’s why my most recent ancestor came over.

          • Ian Maitland

            Touche.

          • Ian Maitland

            Personally, I think anyone who can’t find the basic decency to stand for a minute out of respect for our fellow citizens who have put their lives on the line for us is behaving disgracefully.

            But I think it is hypocritical as well as disgraceful to immigrate to the US and then to turn around and (metaphorically) give the finger to your fellow citizens.

          • Justin McKinney

            Guess what? You’re entitled to your opinion of their actions. That being said, they’re also entitled to behave in that fashion, what with the 1st Amendment and all.

          • Ian Maitland

            Don’t confuse law and what is morally right or wrong. They are legally entitled to behave in that fashion. They are not morally entitled to do so,

          • Justin McKinney

            That’s the thing about morals. Everyone has their own. And it’s not my job to police the morals of others, unless it negatively impacts me directly, and violates the rule of law. Other than that, I just have to ignore behavior I don’t approve of (see: bigoted idiots in Charlottesville, for example).

          • Ian Maitland

            Wow, Justin. Are you a complete relativist? There is no such thing as right and wrong — it’s all a matter of opinion?

          • Justin McKinney

            Actually, that’s not what I am saying at all. There are some things that are just plain wrong. And some things that are just plain right. Then there are those things that the law says are wrong – some of which I think are completely stupid, but I still have to abide by them.

            The point I am trying to make here is that unless it’s a matter of the rule of law, it’s not my job to foist my morals onto other people. This is strictly my opinion. If you feel differently, then you are entitled to your opinion. I just operate under the philosophy of life being too short to get so wound up about things that have little to no impact on my personal life.

          • Lindsey

            Who are they disrespecting?

          • Ian Maitland

            Veterans for sure. I’d have to be able to read their minds. But I would speculate also their fellow citizens, the country they have been welcomed by.

          • Lindsey

            By whose definition? Yours?
            Seems to me (and you know, what the armed forces swear to uphold) that if a veteran truly fought for what our nation stands for then a peaceful protest, granted by our constitution, would be deemed just as patriotic as those who stand for the anthem.

          • Ian Maitland

            I don’t begrudge anyone the right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances or protest (though there are well-established time, manner and place limits).

            I am just exercising my own constitutional rights to criticize what I think was an ugly and disrespectful use of those rights by the students who refused to stand.

          • Lindsey

            You can’t say that they have the right to peacefully protest and then in the next breath say that their peaceful protest is ugly and disrespectful.

          • fromthesidelines21

            I’ll disagree with you on this one. For an extreme example The Westboro Baptists have the right to peacefully demonstrate but for me it is ugly and offensive.

          • Lindsey

            Offensive language and antagonistic behavior makes their protests inherently not peaceful.

            If these students were yelling throughout the anthem or calling those who support the flags r-rated names, then your comparison would be true.

          • fromthesidelines21

            Context matters. And don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem with the students who sat. Side note, I haven’t heard their ‘why we sat’ POV yet.

            In this case they are at a veterans day ceremony as is quite common across the country. The intended purpose of these ceremonies is to reflect on the sacrifice and service of our veterans in our local communities and to their place in significant events in our countries history.

            It should not be surprising that anything that takes the focus off of that would be offensive to a great many people.

          • Ian Maitland

            Not necessarily. The courts have been very reluctant to adopt such vague and subjective standards. They set a strict standard for any limits on speech (including expressive actions). Not doing so would make the free speech clause a dead letter.

          • Ian Maitland

            Yes I can Lindsey. It’s the distinction I have made throughout. An action may be protected by the First Amendment but simultaneously be ugly and disrespectful. Nazis have free speech, too. But their views are ugly and disrespectful.

    • Jerry

      Why should people us their freedoms that veterans fought for, right?

      • Ian Maitland

        They exercised their legal right to behave disgracefully. Just because it is legal doesn’t make it any less wrong.

        • Jerry

          America: land of the free*

          *just don’t you dare use your freedoms

          • Ian Maitland

            That is right Jerry. Even if the Constitution legally protects your right to behave despicably, you have a moral duty not to use it for that purpose. Why is this distinction so hard to grasp?

          • And who assumes the role of morality police?

          • Ian Maitland

            Well, you do a pretty good job (usually). As a matter of law, we all have the law to criticize conduct we think is wrong.

          • I have never considered myself morality police, what I’m saying is I don’t know how the Constitution has a moral component when assessing whether a right is conveyed. To my knowledge, nobody is arguing against your right to disagree with anything and I rather suspect if this particular group had conveyed a principled and respectful argument as you have done, there’d be little chance the principal would have stepped in, but just a guess there.

            Injecting a racial element into the discussion and the exchange the threats seems like something that would be a good idea for a school principal, as we’ve seen elsewhere what happens when things are allowed to escalate far, far beyond the rational exchange of ideas.

          • Ian Maitland

            I misspoke when I picked up on your reference to “morality police.” Police was not what I intended. I meant to say that you are just as much an arbiter as everyone else. That is the American way.
            My own take is that when the word “race” is used, everyone becomes stupid. It is the nuclear option. Any and all argument become impossible. I believe it is used for precisely that purpose — to shut down debate.
            I think the principal — like most of the tribe — is so terrified of the debate escalating that he has handed mostly left/minority activists a heckler’s veto. I don’t envy his (or her) position. But I think that years and years of kowtowing to such groups has made it impossible for schools to fulfill their basic mission.

          • // much an arbiter as everyone else

            Right, but I have no standing other than to have an opinion.

            The reason race is an issue here is because there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that race-based comments suggested race-based threats and constituted the line at which the principal felt empowered to act . It’s hard for me to see how an environment for education is NOT diminished in the midst of racial epithets and taunts.

            I’m not an expert on the case law on the subject, but I’m willing to bet that the judge who gets this case will confirm that fairly quickly.

          • Ian Maitland

            Same here, of course.
            I don’t know enough to judge if there were racist taunts. The principal would be entirely right to punish such taunts. But I wonder about the appropriateness of collective punishment.
            It’s not just racial taunts. Education is incompatible with any taunts at all.
            My main concern is that the principal may have been seen to have taken sides in the dispute. I don’t have to recite the many cases where schools have suppressed speech on the grounds that it might offend minorities or create a hostile learning environment. Minorities are cheating themselves by demanding that opinions they are uncomfortable with be proscribed.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “I don’t have to recite the many cases where schools have suppressed speech on the grounds that it might offend minorities or create a hostile learning environment.”

            You do see the double standard of your comments, right?

          • The reason you see the distinction as hard to grasp is that there are diverse opinions on what is “right” and “wrong”. You are making YOUR opinion clear. No matter how many times you repeat it, it is still your opinion and does not have to be my opinion or anyone else’s. Call it moral relativism if you want, but some things just aren’t binary.

          • Ian Maitland

            I agree, Patrick. The opinions I have expressed here are my own. And I am open to being persuaded that I am wrong. But I sincerely believe they are right (until proven wrong).

          • Bridget L.

            Serious question, is it confidence that gives you the ability to say that what you think is right and because you believe that, anything that goes against what you sincerely believe is right, is wrong?

        • Lindsey

          It’s not disgraceful to peacefully protest. It is disgraceful to require students to attend a ceremony that requires fake patriotism to be displayed.

          • Jerry

            Enforced patriotism isn’t patriotism at all. It is an abusive relationship. “I will make you love me”

          • Ian Maitland

            Is it really asking you to betray your values to expect a modicum of respect for veterans? That is truly screwy.

          • Justin McKinney

            It may be. As a veteran myself, I strongly feel that it’s not my place to dictate that people show me the respect that I may or may not have earned. If they have their own reasons for not standing during the anthem or during a Veteran’s Day ceremony, so be it. I put on the uniform to fight for freedom, whether or not I agree with how people choose to exercise it.

          • Ian Maitland

            Absolutely right. It is not your place — though goodness knows you earned it — to dictate respect. Not is it mine. But I am not trying to dictate that people show respect. The choice remains theirs. However, I am exercising my right to appeal to their basic decency and to express my revulsion if they use their legal rights to act in a disrespectful manner. No matter if it is permitted by the law, it is wrong.

          • The power of the Constitution comes from America’s belief in extending it to the most vile of those who exercise the rights guaranteed under it.

          • Ian Maitland

            Amen. But that does not make their behavior right or above criticism. It is still vile.

          • Jerry

            Because enforced veneration of the military is a dangerous step.

          • Ian Maitland

            Well, it’s not enforced. No one has challenged their legal right not to stand.

            And it is not “veneration.” It is a simple act of respect for people who sacrificed for all of us (even if you don’t approve of the cause they fought for).

          • Jerry

            What were these kids trying to do if not enforcing it?

          • Ian Maitland

            I assume that they were protesting the protest — as they are constitutionally entitled to.

          • fromthesidelines21

            I don’t think the YCC was punished for voicing their displeasure for the students who sat but the manner in which their response(s) were made. It crossed a line for the school.

          • Ian Maitland

            Well. I re-read the report. It is unclear. What was the manner? They were accused of being disrespectful to other students. But given how PC the school system is, that could mean that they had the effrontery to disagree with members of a protected class. Presumably the courts will sort it out.

            It is ironic, to put it mildly, that the YCC should be disbanded because it was disrespectful of the disrespect showed by the students who refused to stand for the taps. Viewpoint discrimination, anyone?

          • fromthesidelines21

            It seems to me that the kids who sat during the ceremony can be viewed as disrespectful yet protected expression. The reaction from the YCC may have violated a code of conduct or bullying provision from the schools point of view.

            I would expect the school to also enforce the rules for any student or group who behaves similarly toward the YCC student members.

          • Ian Maitland

            Well, it doesn’t get more disrespectful than forcibly disbanding the YCC. Look, I work on a campus, when I am not home sick. My perception is that the rules are applied selectively based on viewpoint. It has gotten to the point where any viewpoint that makes minorities feel uncomfortable is suppressed as hostile or disrespectful. I suspect this is the same old double standard.

          • Any speech that is suppressed on content is a violation of the First Amendment. That’s not even an issue. Having said that, the U.S. Supreme Court has been pretty clear that that is not the only test of whether speech is protected.

          • Ian Maitland

            Yes, there are limitations — mostly time, manner and place, if I remember my Con Law class. But let’s say the YCC peaceably protested against the students who refused to stand. I take it that you would not consider that grounds for disbanding the YCC?

          • I would not disband the YCC for being opposed to individuals’ beliefs, no.

            I note that the day this all came to a head and police had to be called… that the video from the so-called EHS Antifascists’ was taken down at the same time the Twitter account was taken down, so there’s at least the hint that the principal was trying to keep the situation from exploding and — the way the story is told — had the resulting “dialogue” not reached a dangerous level, it seems likely (a) the cops wouldn’t be called and (b) the principal wouldn’t have intervened to the extent the principal intervened.

            The YCC kids say they’re being required to respect the school policy toward respecting opposing views while simultaneously complaining that the seated kids were not required to respect (as they define it) their views that they should stand.

            Other than a free for all, I’m not sure how a principal is supposed to decide this other than taking social media away for a week from everybody and telling them to go do their homework.

          • Kellpa07

            They were calling out behavior they thought was disrespectful, which they had every right to do. The manner in which they did it also happened to be disrespectful, but the students calling out those who say had not power to “enforce” the policy. Just because you believe that those who sat had a right to do so (and I agree with that) doesn’t mean they are also entitled to remain free from criticism. It seems the only issue here is whether the criticism crossed the line into behavior that a government entity can legally sanction. On that issue, I don’t have nearly enough information.

          • Jerry

            Honestly, I’m just bitter that militarism has hijacked patriotism in this country and I might be projecting.

          • Theory_of_I

            Like many Americans, I served in the U.S. military.
            I did not serve to defend any ceremony.
            I affirmed an oath and served to defend the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms it defends for all of us, including freedom of speech, without which all of our freedoms may ultimately be lost.

            I won’t be with the ‘tyranny of the majority’ when they come to silence those who choose to speak freely.
            To those who would intimidate others into silence, you are entitled to your opinion, no matter how short-sighted. — but consider that you may be foolishly surrendering your own constitutional rights, if not now, then potentially when a time comes that you will need them.

            Of the 241 years since 1776, U.S. military forces have been actively involved in 223 of them.
            In other words, there have been only 18 years in all of U.S. history when our military forces have not been engaged in conflict against people somewhere in the world – including our own.

            Is this record one that deserves blind patriotism? As a nation, are we incapable of being better than that? Must we silence those who may view that differently?

          • You, sir, are a real American.

          • Lindsey

            Again, how does sitting during the anthem show disrespect for the veterans?

          • Ian Maitland

            Lindsey, I have given you my best shot on that.

          • RBHolb

            Personally, I find the current trend of pharisaical displays of patriotism at public events on in the mass media to be far more offensive than any protests.

          • Ian Maitland

            Pharisees were noted for how conspicuously they prayed and flaunted their piety.

            No one is asking you to be pharisaical. Just for basic respect.

          • Lindsey

            And staying silent and sitting is not respectful, how?

          • Ian Maitland

            Well, as I said, it was metaphorically a middle finger — an insult to veterans, fellow citizens and the country that welcomed them. They were intentionally flaunting their disrespect. (If they really had conscientious objections they might have discreetly taken a bathroom break. No, this was a deliberate insult).

          • Lindsey

            I don’t even know how to respond to this. They likely couldn’t leave the room and possibly didn’t even know that the anthem was going to be performed then. The fact that they were forced to attend this assembly is indoctrination of the worst sort and violates their ability to utilize their free speech without protesting in this exact way.

          • Ian Maitland

            I think you exaggerate. All that was expected was a modicum of respect for people who had earned that respect. Even if you think we are a fascist country, our veterans still deserve your and my respect.

          • CB

            In your opinion….

          • They do, indeed, and they’re collateral damage in this ongoing debate over the last few years.

            Is there such a thing as protest that doesn’t disrupt the status quo and acceptable norms, though? If so, has one ever succeeded?

          • Ian Maitland

            This one made me rack my brain. Likely not.
            Still, if memory serves, when freedom marchers in the Cvil Rights era broke the law or local ordinances, they made a point of accepting the legal consequences of their actions. So when he defied the court and marched in Birmingham, ALA. he turned himself in at the Birmingham Jail.
            I doubt that any protest has ever stayed entirely within the law. They are hydra-headed monsters after all. Some hotheads can always be counted on to go too far.
            But our system is set up to facilitate change by democratic means. So I’d say there is a duty to at least exhaust those channels before turning to civil disobedience or, more so, violence.

          • Jay T. Berken

            Protests are made to make you feel uncomfortable, and yes illegal in your example of Civil Rights, otherwise you would not notice. The TEA Party antics makes me uncomfortable such as shouting at representatives in town hall meetings, but they have the right to do it.

          • Lindsey

            And they did offer a modicum of respect. If sitting quietly is disrespectful, they are offered no way to peacefully protest the anthem. I don’t know what you wanted them to do and I also do not understand how worshipping the flag shows any respect for veterans.

          • Ian Maitland

            It wasn’t the anthem (that is for another day). It was taps — a solitary bugle in memory of all the veterans who put their lives on the line for you and me. That is what makes it so offensive.

          • Well the problem is exacerbated, then, by confusing Veterans Day with Memorial Day.

            From the Office of Veterans Affairs:

            Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALLthose who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

          • I’ll have to do some research, but I’m pretty sure there is no protocol for civilians when taps is played other than to stop what you’re doing.

          • Yes. So were the Nazis marching in Skokie. And you understand why it was so important for the Supreme Court to declare that they had a right to, right?

            The burning cross that appeared on the lawn of the only black family of Dayton’s Bluff, you understand why the Supreme Court thought it unAmerican to have a law that prevented speech, I’m quite certain.

            In all of these cases and more, the courts went to great lengths to protect unpopular speech and in neither case was our right to object abridged.

            The question as part of the lawsuit, it should be pointed out, isn’t about whether sitting in peaceful protest is or isn’t a bad, immoral, or indecent thing. That’s simply an irrelevant point that will never be allowed to a question in the lawsuit.

            The lawsuit is about the line that a principal drew about when an unpopular opinion manifests itself in actions that threaten the safety of citizens.

            He drew that line so really the only argument is whether there should be a line at all. That won’t last long in a court case.

            So now the question is how should the line be moved and where is that point that complies with the answers already supplied by the U.S. Supreme Court?

          • Ian Maitland

            I think that is pretty much my view too. The fact that the Nazis may have had a constitutional right to march in Skokie does not make their beliefs any less despicable, So too, I think, the students’ actions in refusing to stand were protected by the Constitution, but that does not make their conduct any less disgraceful.
            I also suspect that when the facts come out, it will be shown that the principal is using a double standard. Disrespect is indivisible in my view.

          • Were the students who sat a member of a club that could be disbanded?

          • Ian Maitland

            Nice point. Not formally anyway. I suppose if the members of the YCC are not barred from individually or collectively continuing their protest (but not under the colors of the YCC) my point about a double standard may not apply.

          • CB

            Yes, so their action was distasteful (to some), the students who posted racial and xenophobic comments–their actions were actually against the school’s rules. Hence the principal’s action.

          • Ian Maitland

            I have no problem with that. If either side made comments that transgressed basic civility, I have no problem with the school disciplining them. But here are my concerns: (1.) The principal inflicted collective punishment by disbanding the YCC. That sounds like overreaching to me. (2.) If the rules are so strict as to make legitimate debate possible, I’d oppose that. (3.) The immigration status of the initial protestors seems to me to be an entirely legitimate issue. If some of them accepted the US’s hospitality and then turned around an expressed loathing for the US and its veterans, I think they fully deserve unsparing criticism. And there’s more, I’m sure.

          • RBHolb

            It is pahrisaical for every public assembly to be turned into a salute to the military. It is pharisaical for retail ads to include a ritualistic “patriotic” message, with no context. It is pharisaical for a business to display American flags at all hours, without regard to protocol.

            It is a natural reaction to conclude that these displays are less than sincere. It is likewise natural to find it difficult to afford them the respect to which the promoters of those displays want.

          • Ian Maitland

            Yes, there is plenty of it. But simply standing for a minute or two in respect of people who sacrificed for us? Come on!

          • Ian Maitland

            It is a matter of basic decency.

          • Jerry

            So is not being xenophobic

          • Ian Maitland

            Agreed. But the last country in the world to whom that charge applies is the US — that receives many times more immigrants than any other country.

          • Lindsey

            Receiving immigrants does not absolve of us of a large proportion of people who exhibit anti-immigrant behavior.

          • Ian Maitland

            Of course not. But I strongly dispute your implication that many people exhibit anti-immigrant behavior. A few nutters, perhaps.

            Don’t mistake opposition to illegal immigration for anti-immigrant behavior. That is a perfectly legitimate objection to the wholesale disregard of our laws.

            It is amazing how ready so many Americans are to believe lies about America.

          • Lindsey

            A few nutters who voted in a politician know for his anti-immigrant stances???

          • Ian Maitland

            I suspect Trump’s voters who cared about the immigration issue did so because he promised to take decisive steps to reduce the chances of terrorists infiltrating the country and because he intended to restore America’s control over its borders. Not everything is about racism.

          • Lindsey

            Exactly. Basic decency says that forced patriotism has been and will continue to be the tool of dictators.

          • Ian Maitland

            The fact that patriotism has sometimes been abused doesn’t make it wrong. Personally, I am deeply grateful to the US for (belatedly) entering WW2 and for providing a lifeline to Britain when Hitler was on our doorstep. Otherwise I might have had to grow up goose-stepping and greeting people by saying Heil Hitler. From the bottom of my heart, thank God for American patriotism.

          • Lindsey

            Patriotism has not sometimes been abused, but will always be abusive when directed by those in power.

          • Ian Maitland

            Obviously I completely disagree.

          • Lindsey

            Okay, but a fact is a fact, regardless of whether you accept it.

          • Ian Maitland

            You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

          • CB

            In your opinion…

          • Ian Maitland

            That is right CB, I am expressing my own opinions, I am not a ventriloquist’s dummy. But I appeal to you to consider the REASONS I have given for my opinions.

    • You were born in Ottawa. What exactly is the relationship signalled by the qualifying clause between you being Canadian and finding that the exercise of one’s rights is repellant behavior?

      • Ian Maitland

        Respectfully, again, I don’t see what Ottawa has got to do with anything. FWIW, I grew up mostly in England, France, and Egypt.

        It is perfectly consistent to say that a legal right can be exercised for repellent behavior. And the students who refused to stand behaved within the law but disgracefully.

    • lusophone

      How exactly does anyone know what the immigration status of fellow students is? Does everyone know where everyone else was born?

    • Rob

      Raise your hand if you think T.Rump’s ban on immigrants from primarily Muslim countries wasn’t about racism and religious discrimination.

      • Ian Maitland

        I’ll raise my hand. I don’t believe for a New York minute that it was racism and religious discrimination. It was pure election-year grandstanding. Trump is an opportunist, not a racist. And he saw that many Americans were rattled by the terror attacks in our midst, some by Muslim immigrants. He pandered to that fear by promising drastic action. He never asked himself whether the policy could really make us safer.

        • Rob

          You’re an army of one, then.

  • Jamaal Abegaz

    This strikes me as frivolous at face. I hope the case gets tossed with fines, etc. Also someone should probably file a complaint with the MN Bar Assocn against Plaintiff’s counsel. It’s hard enough for people to get their day in court as is with out trash suits filling dockets.

  • TGB

    Mr. Collins, you’re calling these conservative students, which include PoC, racist, without evidence.

    Have you ever been sued for defamation?

  • Justin McKinney

    I’ll add one thing – as a veteran, I always stand for the anthem, etc. It’s just my own personal belief that I should. However, I am not going to say that everyone else has to, based on their own beliefs, etc.

    What does offend me is that there was someone ON THEIR PHONE recording during Taps. That’s just as offensive as leaving your hat on during the anthem, or something similar.

    • TGB

      Thank you for your service.

  • To those who wonder about the racism in the YCC group texts, here are examples of what was in that group following the sit-down protest:

    “he can barely speak English”

    “at least we can relish in the fact that none of them are going to college and won’t amount to anything”

    “let’s all do something nice and pitch in for a plane ticket”

    Context: https://www.edinazephyrus.com/assembly-protest-leads-to-anonymous-threats-harassment/

    • TGB

      How is criticizing one’s ability or inability to speak a language racist?

      • Nice try, troll.

      • Rob

        Is that you, Fred?

      • Lindsey

        Are you being purposely obtuse? If so, then you are just trolling.

        If you truly do not understand how making fun of someone for characteristics of their race and ethnicity is racist, I am not sure we can provide any more examples.

        • TGB

          I make fun of Southern Hicks for not speaking proper English, does that make me racist?

          • crystals

            It might make you racist. It definitely makes you a [insert your preferred descriptive expletive].

          • Lindsey

            No, but it certainly makes you elitist and mean.

        • P Roppo

          Yea, I suggest you read the definition of racism in the dictionary and stay on course. Racism requires “superiority”. Discussing differences in race and humoring differences in race is not “racism” and the continued use of the word in that context is only weakening its importance.

  • Guest

    I find it interesting that factually, friends can say all sort of mean remarks verbally but schools can take no action when spoken off school grounds. Yet today the same mean statements in the electronic world can get shared waaaay past the original friends and then be declared within the right of schools to take action.

    • State law not only allows school officials to take action against those who make threats or harass via social media, it requires them to.

      121A.031 SCHOOL STUDENT BULLYING POLICY.
      §Subdivision 1.Student bullying policy; scope and application. (a) This section applies to bullying by a student against another student enrolled in a public school and which occurs:
      (1) on the school premises, at the school functions or activities, or on the school transportation;
      (2) by use of electronic technology and communications on the school premises, during the school functions or activities, on the school transportation, or on the school computers, networks, forums, and mailing lists; or
      (3) by use of electronic technology and communications off the school premises to the extent such use substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment.
      (b) A nonpublic school under section 123B.41, subdivision 9, consistent with its school accreditation cycle, is encouraged to electronically transmit to the commissioner its antibullying policy, if any, and any summary data on its bullying incidents.
      (c) This section does not apply to a home school under sections 120A.22, subdivision 4, and 120A.24, or a nonpublic school under section 123B.41, subdivision 9.
      (d) A school-aged child who voluntarily participates in a public school activity, such as a cocurricular or extracurricular activity, is subject to the same student bullying policy provisions applicable to the public school students participating in the activity.

  • Lily Jones

    I’m afraid club members telling students to “go back to their home countries” was not the extent of the racist comments. For example, one club member said “we can relish in the fact that none of them will go to college and amount to anything.” Mr. Kaardal is clearly omitting the substance of the racism displayed. In order to report on WHY the club’s speech was suppressed, you must quote the speech that required discipline. You can read more about the content of the racist messages here: https://t.co/7yVtCvry9w

    • fyi, that link has been at the bottom of the post almost all morning.

  • Capt. Norb

    Speaking of high school kids and respect for our flag, what is proper etiquette for flying a large one from the back of a pickup truck? When parked at our out-state town’s school, the flags drape all over the cab or bed. And they tend to get pretty raggedy.

    • metis1

      per flag code, that would be disrespecting it.
      ironically nationalists don’t seem to care and would rather wear the flag than have to actually respect it.

  • AmiSchwab

    young conservatives and edina in one breath. or put another way white and privileged

  • Can you imagine a world in which one side says, “you’re right and we will work to rectify racial inequity with you.”

    And the other side says, “you’re right, and we will stand with you and honor what you honor.”

    I wish I could say I could.

  • Ken

    I cringe at the thought of listening to a privileged, well insulated kid regurgitating what they hear from their parents and Fox News.